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Diesel vs. Gasoline

AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 142
I started this conference to consolidate numerous
conference postings related to engine choice and
the pros and cons.

Which is better a Cummins Turbo Diesel or V10 Gas
Engine for daily driving, and highway, with about
30,000 miles a year (50% highway)? This would be
on a 2500 Ram QC LB, or other 3/4 ton, like the new
F-250?

--Ryan
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Comments

  • kirkpamakirkpama Posts: 64
    Airwolf,
    The deciding factor for me was that my current F250 is 8 years old and I have only put 56,000 miles on it. To offset the cost of the diesel engine, in my area, you would have to drive 80,000 miles to pay for the diesel, based on the extra gas mileage of the diesel. I don't tow a big trailer and don't come close to the 80,000 mile point. So, I went with the V-10.
  • pete38pete38 Posts: 52
    Airwolf, is that taking in account the money you get back in the resale of the diesel engine since I think you should get more in a resale of a diesel?
  • kirkpamakirkpama Posts: 64
    I used 12 mpg for the V-10, 19 mpg for the diesel, and $1.10/gal for gas in my area. The difference at 80,000 miles is $2700 and this leaves $1000 for trade in on the diesel. The internet sites only allow $300 to $400 for the diesel on used trucks. I think $1000 would be closer to the actual value than $400. I priced the new diesel at $3700. The V-10 cost $285. My commute to work is only 2.5 miles each way. That is barely enough to warm up the gas engine. Some people like the sound of the diesel, but I prefer the quieter gas engine. My 2 year old is scared to death when a diesel goes by close to us.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    I've got a '92 F-250 with the 7.3 L Diesel, non-turbo. It has 127K miles on it. I've averaged over 17 MPG for ALL of those miles. Last week I went to Las Vegas from LA, 80 MPH most of the way. Mileage was over 18 MPG. Mileage will drop to a high 15 or low 16 if I push it to 95-97 MPH. The d*&^ governor keeps me to a max of 97.5. With fuel and myself the truck weighs 6730 LBS.
  • kirkpamakirkpama Posts: 64
    Airwolf,
    I'm not knocking the diesel, it is a great engine. My brother in law and his brother both have F350 diesel crew cabs. It may be a better choice for you since you will be driving 30K a year and if you pull a trailer, it would be a better choice. In my case, the V-10 is the better choice. Good luck with the decision!
  • dkgdkg Posts: 11
    kirkpama,

    Where did you find a V-10 option for $285 v $3700 for the diesel? When I started looking the difference was between $2900 and $3000 for the diesel.

    Airwolf,

    I chose the diesel after talking to several people who work with dynamos and the diesel was the hands down choice from all of them. Still, the diesel will take some getting used to, but we have a boat that we tow over several mountain passes and the big block just will not pull the same as the oil burner.

    In the local area (Colorado) the resale on the diesel is still worth the initial investment. But be sure you are getting what meets your needs, not what everyone else is getting.

    Hope this helps.

    DKG
  • RoclesRocles Posts: 985
    What about availability of diesel? Where I live, alot of stations don't have it. Another question about diesels is they still stink and are very loud. Obviously they are reliable but what are the numbers? I'm curious also----
  • barbellbarbell Posts: 15
    If you are buying a vehicle for everyday to work and back, etc, you don't want a diesel. I have a car for that : a Honda Accord with over 300K with the original exhaust system. I am buying a Dodge 3/4 ton, 4x4 longbed, qcab to pull my travel trailer where ever I want to take it. I may use it occasionally on long trips w/o the trailer, but most of the time, it will be sitting in my driveway waiting for another trip.
  • barbellbarbell Posts: 15
    I forgot to say that the new truck will be a diesel; that is the subject of this board. With the size of the fuel tanks on current trucks, you should have no trouble making it from one major truck stop to another. In fact, that is the place to buy diesel. Don't buy it in an out of the way station unless you are really looking for trouble.
  • kirkpamakirkpama Posts: 64
    DKG,

    Have you tried looking at Kelly Blue Book's site www.kbb.com or Edmunds site for the prices? The invoice price for the V-10 is $285 and the diesel is $3778. This is for the Ford 1999 trucks. I don't know if Ford has ever sold the diesel for as little as $2900. I didn't check the prices of the Dodge engines. I know the Ford's because I ordered a 1999 F250 with the V-10.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    To back up what barbell said in post #9, not only do you get better service at truck stops (or stations that at least cater to trucks by having extra diesel pumps), they cost less as well. They make their money on volume sales - 200 gallons in a Kenworth adds up profitwise. Several of the stations here actually sell diesel only overnight, and gasoline just between 6 am and 10 pm. I usually pay less than regular unleaded for diesel here in north New Jersey.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    barbell,
    Permit me a bit of sarcasm here....

    If you're anything like the rest of us; your Honda will sit in the driveway with (eventually) flat tires while your diesel Ram will be turing over 600K miles.
  • dkgdkg Posts: 11
    kirkpama,

    Oops, I was only referring to the Dodge Prices. The $2900 was the difference from the Dodge V-10 to the Cummins Diesel.

    DKG
  • pete38pete38 Posts: 52
    I went to Kelly Blue Book on the web and clicked on the following for the retail price
    1996 Dodge Ram 3/4 Club cab 8' bed
    60,000 miles, manual trans, SLT package, Power Windows, locks steering, Tilt Wheel, Cruise, AM/FM cassette, leather, sliding rear window and Four Wheel Drive.
    I kept all the above factors consistent but changed the engine. Prices are as follows
    V8 Gas 21,230
    v10 Gas 21,365
    diesel 23,730
    Thats 2,365 more for the diesel than the v10 if my calculations are correct. So I believe much of the intial investment for the diesel could be recouped if the Kelly Blue Book prices are realistic. Now I do realize that 60000 is a lot of miles for a truck that new for a lot of people and I don't know why I picked that milage I just did. I don't know if the price difference between the engines changes as the milage goes one way or the other or not.
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    Pete38,

    Out of curiousity, I ran a similar test after reading your post, except I used a 95 Dodge and ran the mileage at 120,000 and 150,000. Since the diesel engines last longer without overhauls, I figured it would be reflected in the values at the higher mileage. Twas not the case. At market value, the diesel had $2,165 over the V-10. At trade-in value, the difference was $1,575. My guess is that there really is a larger difference in what someone might be willing to pay for a high mileage vehicle with those two engines. I mean, I wouldn't be expecting to get too much for a gas engine vehicle with 150,000 miles on it.
  • pete38pete38 Posts: 52
    That makes sense to me too, I was running some numbers on what I expect to do with the truck. I'm glad it came out that way since my diesel should be here anyday. I was more than a little concerned about only getting 400 for the diesel, that didn't seem right. I thought I had checked that before I purchased but couldn't remember for sure, so now I have a little piece of mind about that again. I don't think I would be interested in a gas engine with 150,000 on it but I've heard stories of those running for a long time too, I would just be more wary of the gas with high milage compared to a diesel. Of course in this stage of my life, used vehicles are something I wouldn't consider unless it was someone I knew and trusted that had driven the vechicle.
  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 142
    Wow! A lot of traffic over the past few days here and I must say that I hope it keeps up! You all have a lot of great information... to clear a few things up:
    1) I must say that I usually put 30,000 or so miles a year on my vehicles, although that will probably decrease over the next few years. Even though the initial cost of the diesel is +$3,000 more, the tradein cost more than makes up for it in my opinion, considering the use you'll get.
    I hope that this truck will last me for years, and I think that the reliability of a well-maintained diesel is worth the additional cost.
    2) My needs are balanced with what is the best for money. True, I will use it mainly for onroad, to and from work, driving, but when I really need it offroad or pulling a boat, I'd like to know that I'm not straining the engine. So I think that diesel would still be better, right?
    3) Fuel - the nearest large truck stop is 30 miles north of here, so everytime I go to the airport, I could fill up, so that won't be a problem. But you all are right, truck stops are the way to go. Not only is fuel cheaper, it's fresher.

    Thanks all.
  • pete38pete38 Posts: 52
    Airwolf, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said well maintained diesel. I plan to go by the book for mine, I've heard diesel repairs are expensive, so I'm going to pay attention to the details of maintenance down to the last letter. I don't know about anybody else but I live in a town of approx. 50,000 and we have a couple of stations in town that service diesel fleet vehicles. Do you think the diesel from those staitions would be "safe". To me it would almost have to be because if it was bad fuel the fleet they service would all have the same fuel problem and they would know were they got the diesel from. Any other thoughts on this?
  • BrutusBrutus Posts: 1,113
    If the diesel in your area is really bad and a truck stop is too far away to visit frequently, there is always the option of putting an extra fuel tank in the bed. My dad put one in his long bed truck. He can go over 1,000 miles between fillups with a fifth wheel in tow. I think he can hold a total of 100 gallons. If you have nothing in tow, a tank of gas that size will get you a long way down the highway.
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    I've been reading these responses and felt like saying something. Diesels are great engines, and they do get better mileage than gas, and they are built tougher because the internal forces on the engine is much greater than that of gasoline. But I don't think you can really justify buying a diesel if you are just driving back and forth to work. Unless you are pulling a trailer for 30-40% of you driving miles, the cost is just not worth it. My first reason is that i know ranchers and industrial shops that like to buy used diesel trucks, and can get them for good prices because the original owner absorbed most of the initial cost. Believe KBB and Edmund's if you want, this is my experience.

    Secondly, longevity is not as big an advantage over gas motors. Do you realize the advances in engineering the past 6 or 7 years. Todays gas engines, Chevy, Ford, Dodge, all are very solid built motors. I know a friend who did moderate towing, mostly driving with a 302 Ford, and got 300,000 miles before he rebuilt. I know several people who drive Chevy 350's into the 200-300K mile range. Gas technology has gasoline trucks getting 15-20 mpg. Mine is a Chevy 350, I get 18 highway. My dad drives a crew cab with 454 that gets 14. If it's power you want, the Dodge and Ford V10 won't get that good, but why do you have an engine that big unless you are pulling?

    With gasoline mileages as high as they are now, i don't see longevity being a big enough factor to fork over an extra $3000. I love diesels too, maybe i'm just a tight wad. anyway, just wanted to put in a different opinion. I hope everyone enjoys there truck whatever they have.

    cdean
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    cdean,

    You're not off base in your opinion at all. The one thing I would debate with you is the cause of the longevity. A properly maintained engine will always outlive the truck - regardless of its fuel. Depending on where you live (I'm in the northeast, thus the Road Salt Belt), the body will probably fall apart long before the engine will if you do you fluid and filter changes the way your driving dictates.

    Out at my dad's job, they used to have a mid-80s Dodge W350, 360 V8 and 727 automatic, that would not die. The bed was so beat up that the tailgate would no longer open. But it started every morning, even when newer trucks had trouble with cold weather. When the body rot finally got to the point where the truck was unsafe, they finally got rid of it, but it wasn't because of the powertrain.

    I opted for the Cummins in my Dodge because I know from experience, I go through tuneups in a gas engine at nearlty one a year. And when I say tune up, I mean the good old fashioned tune up, not just a plug change. I'd get plugs, cap, rotor, and air-fuel-PCV filters annually, and spark wires every other year. With the diesel, I don't have to worry about anything but filters and clean motor oil. Yeah it's 10 quarts instead of 5, but oil isn't nearly as expensive as those tuneups were running me.
  • kirkpamakirkpama Posts: 64
    Pete38,

    I've been out of town for 3 days and there has been a lot of posting here since I left. When I checked the trade-in on the diesel, I used a 1990 model. I would have suspected that if you trade in a fairly new truck, you would have been given more for the diesel than $1000. But when the question was asked about the trade-in amount on the diesel after 80,000 miles, I think it is fair to assume that the truck is more than two years old. If you check the Dodge Ram 2500 1990 model crew cab with the options you specified with 20,000 miles, you will find that for the:

    V-8 5.9 you get $6400
    diesel you get $7400

    only $1000 difference...not the same amount that you would have paid for it.

    PS: Thanks for the site on the roll-up bed covers in the other topic.
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    kcram

    I have just a couple of points to argue on what you said. New gas motors advertise no tune ups for 100,000 miles. This means you don't pay anything or do anything for 100,000, other than filters and fluids. This makes the diesel maintenance twice as expensive. Technology in gas engines has gotten to the point where the tune-up is basically changing the spark plugs and then plugging in a diagnostic computer and doing checks.

    Here is the kicker though. What is the biggest long term cost on gas motor? Say spark plugs, wires, rotor. probably cost little over $100 per 100,000 mile period if they go out that fast, (which in my experience they last longer). Have you had any experience with longterm diesel costs? I have friends in industry, and friends with Ford Powerstroke personal trucks that have found out that sometime after 100,000 miles (out of warranty), those high-tech powerstroke injectors quit working. I know of 8 different powerstroke owners who had to pay $800-900 per injector, at the tune of about 4 or 5 bad injectors per truck. Thats a cost of about 3-4 thousand in repair. I have contacts in the fuel pump repair service that tell me the Chevy diesel fuel pumps, which are extremely high-tech, cost about $1300 out of warranty. I can't make any claims on the Cummins, because I don't really know anyone who has a lot of miles on one.

    Point is, these diesels are great performers, but they cost you to buy them, and cost more to maintain them for the long haul. I hope for you, kcram, that the reason i haven't heard any common failures on the Cummins is because there isn't any. If that were the case, then Cummins gets a major knod over the other diesels, and maybe even over gas. :)

    cdean

    ps. thanks kirkpama for reiterating my point earlier about the diesel resale values.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    cdean

    Go read the fine print on that "100K" tuneup, my friend (or ask a dealer's service manager). It does _N_O_T_ apply if you meet any of the heavy-duty maintenance schedule criteria, which almost every pickup owner does (heavy loads, towing, stop-and-go, extreme weather, etc.). You will discover you have to make the same 30K services that you always have made. Besides, the 100K is for spark plugs ONLY. It does not cover the distributor, the wires, or anything else.

    As for the Cummins, until the 24 valve version came out this year, the engine was completely mechanical - mechanical fuel injection, mechanical valve train, etc. Tough to fail if there's no computer trying to tell it what to do. Even with the new engine, the computer is a Cummins unit; the Chrysler computer only reacts to it. The Powerstroke had one fatal flaw (in theory), and your friends' experiences bear this out: Ford put their own computer on the Navistar engine. The most common failure was electronic sensors after the injector problem you mentioned. When Nav sends that engine out to medium duty truck makers, it has a Nav computer controlling engine functions. It's almost as if Ford is embarrassed to admit they farmed out for the engine; every Dodge diesel proudly says "Cummins" on the sides.

    Regarding resale, I agree, it's stupid to assume you will recover the option price. What I have found is, you maintain the *percentage* difference. For example, if the diesel truck was 10% more to buy, it's worth 10% more to trade. For me, the fuel savings will make up the rest of that difference, since I am paying less for diesel than for regular unleaded (I'm lucky there - a lot of people can't do this).
  • pete38pete38 Posts: 52
    I will do alot of my driving without my 5th wheel trailer and some without my boat, but for me the torque the diesel provides and the "extra" power going down the road would be worth it to me even if I didn't get my money back. My philosophy on the v10s were that is just 4 more cylinders that could have potential problems as opposed to the cummins 6. The Cummins has 40% fewer parts than a v8 motor. I also like the fact that I'm not straining my engine when going up a mountain pass or slowing traffic down to a crawl until I get to the next turnout to let people pass. A 90 truck might only get back 1000 but then the cost of the diesel difference would be spread out over a 10 year period. Living in Colo. our cars bodies last without rusting for many many years assuming you wash and wax it with some regularity. Now UV rays damaging paint here is what we have problems with. Hence the white color of my vechicles.
  • richflynnrichflynn Posts: 147
    I can bear out kcram's statement on the sensors. There are two that caused me problems. The ABS sensor in the rear end which also affected transmission shifting. At 115,000 miles and $160 at the dealer to repair. Shortly there after the tachometer sensor went out, also affecting transmission shifting. I got smart, yelled at the parts man when he quoted $85, got it for $56 and changed it in 10 minutes. (In a white shirt and my wife didn't even have to yell at me.)
  • rite3rite3 Posts: 69
    I think a large part of the accelerated depriciation of the deisels as the mileage gets higher is because of the way people abuse them. I have seen so many people go running out of the plant where I work and jump in their cummins and powerstrokes and hit the key and take off. I have been told that its a good thing to let them warm up first. Also I was told to get the keyless entry system so I wouldnt have to shut it off for short stops at 7 11. But I see guys turning them off, getting their morning coffee and firing them back up. I am no expert, but I was told these habits were not good for deisels. And then there is the horror story factor. 4 bad injectors 4300 bucks, bad fuel pump 1250, fuelsystem leaks where the entire tank was emptied on a jobsite, twice. Algea in the fuel tanks, wetting solutions to aviod cavitation, 10 qts of oil instead of 6, having to replace the fuel filter each time you change your oil, waking up half the cul-d-sac at 5:30 am as you must warm your baby up for at least a moment or so. Seeing your neighbor (who is already pissed at you for not returning rake you borrowed fast enough) running down his driveway at 5:33 am with his garbage can in one hand, trying to keep his robe closed with the other hand, trip and launch headlong facefirst into a flowerbed cause he thinks your the garbage truck. I thought about the deisel for a long time, and it isnt right for me. I think alot of people who might be looking at a used one with high mileage think the way I do. You just dont always know how well the previos owner took care of the rig and that can be scary enough to drop prices at the higher mileages. Even if they say they will go for 300k. I am speaking in general of course. If you guys want a chuckle go to the ford deisel page and check out the feature called therapy. its a knee slapper. www.abol.com/users/jlester
  • mharde2mharde2 Posts: 278
    rite3, your rite on the Therapy, that great. check it guys....These were all sent by users who have undergone therapy at some point. Unfortunately, they are all beyond cure. Consider these warning signs and see a therapist as soon as possible if you exhibit more than 3 of these signs:


    After getting out of your truck you can't take more than ten steps before looking back to make sure it's still there.
    The racket it makes when it's started in the morning sounds sweeter than the opening chords of Beethoven's 9th.
    You honestly think no perfume smells as good as diesel exhaust.
    Your spousal unit begins to wonder why you're suddenly volunteering to run all the errands.
    You record fuel consumption, mileage, oil changes, and other significant events in the life of your truck with such care and accuracy that the most picky NASA scientist would conclude you're overdoing it.
    Three different neighbors have called the police after they've seen you just sitting in your truck - at 1:00 o'clock in the morning.
    You're rolling out of Las Vegas headed for L.A., it's 110 degrees at 10:00 a.m. and you're pulling 11,000 lbs of trailer up the stateline grade when you see a Dodge Cummins ahead and know that life as you know it will end if you don't pass and render it a speck in your rearview mirror.
    You hear the word "bible" and immediate think "owner's manual."
    You find yourself looking at maps to see if there isn't some way to drive to Europe instead of flying.
    Every Monday morning as you drive up the street, your neighbors are frantically running to the curb with their trash cans thinking that the garbage truck has arrived three hours early. You laugh with glee.
    The kids waiting for the school bus begin to pick up their books only to find out someone put a t444e in a pickup. You grin and wave as you motor by.
    You roll down the window on a cold day while driving just to hear the motor.
    When driving through a tunnel or long underpass you slightly slow down just to hear the motor reverberate off the walls.
    Your wife dabs diesel fuel behind her ears when she "wants your attention".
    You drive around with a ton of gravel just cuz it seems right.
    You can't eat and drive when you are not carrying a load.
    You pull up to places that have valet parking and purposefully make sure your exhaust is placed so that you can fill the main entry with diesel fumes.
    You buy a laptop computer for your fiver so you can keep in touch when you're on the road.
    You set The Ford Diesel Website page on your browser as your default "home" page so ya never miss a post!
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    rite3

    I think the reason people are a little leary of used diesels is because of what you pointed out, the high repair costs. those horror stories about fuel pumps and high $ injectors are all true, which is why if i was looking at a truck 90K miles on it, i'm not going to pay more just because its diesel, since i know that it won't be long before some of those high dollar parts start breaking. the internals of a diesel will run forever, but those vitals like fuel pumps and injectors will wear out and there is no way around it. diesels are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain, and that will never change.

    I disagree with Kcram that you get the "percentage" back on diesels. It's been my experience that a diesel truck you payed $4000 more for brand new, will only bring you about $400 more than the same gas truck 4 or 5 years later. maybe its regional, i don't know. i only see a diesel viable to buy if you are pulling for most of your miles.

    I'd like to address one of the "myths" rite3 pointed out. the one about shutting diesels off or leaving them running. It does not hurt a diesel to start and stop it. I can't claim expertise in the area, but i have seen damage done in big rigs (Mack trucks, Kenworths, etc) and other larger diesels because they were left to idle for long times. When you allow a diesel to idle for long periods of time, cylinder temperature drops below normal operating temp. usually diesel cylinders reach about 800-900 degrees at peak compression, which combusts the diesel. when you allow it to idle for a long time, the 160° coolant begins to catch up, and lowers the cylinder temp. the injected diesel no longer fully burns. the results are soot(partially burned hydrocarbons) and plain unburned liquid. If you let your truck idle for a long time and then take off, you might notice a little more smoke than usual, that is the soot being blown out. this soot sticks to the cylinder walls during idling and can disrupt the seating of the piston rings against the cylinders. bad news for compression and engine life. unburned fuel can wet the cylinder and seep past the rings, diluting oil in extreme cases.

    that is what happens on big motors. I can't totally relate to pickup diesels, so don't quote me, but i welcome any comments if someone knows more than i. my suggestion is--if you are going to be out of your truck less than a minute, leave it running, because it takes more fuel to start the engine than it does to run it for more than one minute, plus there's no use in employing the glow plugs and started for that short of a time. but if you are going to be 5 minutes--shut her down.
  • rite3rite3 Posts: 69
    I should post a few of the reasons why I was looking at the powerstroke as an option in the first place. When I decided to get a full size truck I didnt want to rule out the option of towing capability in the future. I have a 460 in my work truck, and I dont pay the gas bill for it, thank God. I also have been a big fan of fuel econimy and the deisel, although I wouldnt buy a new one, because its out of my price range, seem to have more potential for aftermarket hp and tourque upgrades. Upgrades that wont hurt the fuel mileage. Gale Banks has the powerpack that will turn the pre 99's into real asphalt burners. 616 ft lbs of tourque is nothing to laugh about. I should of said that a new deisel isnt right for me. Around here you can pick up a 96 crewcab 4x4 with the 8ft box (of course) for 23k to 25k. If the prices on the pre 99's keep dropping as fast as they are now all summer, I still might bite. I would want the powerpack soon though, as it includes the intercooler and pyrometer and transcommand for the e40d. I have seen them advertized for 1,800 or so. Gale also claims 10% better mpg. I saw this at the Deisel Injection Service web site and the link is at the Ford Deisel page. The 99 with the v10 I want invioces at well over 28k, and in the process of savinng up the dough I might get tired of waiting and go pick up a pre 99 with the powerstroke. I should have posted the deisel wasnt rite for me unless the price is rite. Thanks to all for the feed back, you guys are great.
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